Immigration Law Practice
Immigration is a very complicated area of law. If your attorney is not familiar with all the traps and pitfalls that can delay your case or cause a denial that may be permanent, you could end up with no means of ever realizing your dream of working and living in the United States as a citizen or resident.
R. Mike Borland is board certified in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He is the only board certified Immigration specialist between the cities on Interstate Highway 35 in north and central Texas and El Paso, and between Amarillo, Texas and the Mexican border. Mike Borland addressed fifty educators and community counselors and child advocates in a Midland College event, detailing the processes and potential pitfalls in filing for “Dream Act” relief, Obama’s program of Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA).The firm has an immigration department with two legal assistants and a secretary who do nothing but immigration law cases. We use one of the preeminent immigration software packages to process our cases efficiently. The firm is ready and able to assist you in seeking the legal status you need. There are many roads to legal residence in the United States, many of which you may be unaware. A brief checklist of possible avenues follows.
If you meet any of the following descriptions you may be eligible obtain legal status or permanent residence:
- Do you have a United States Citizen wife or husband, parent, or child over 21? If so, did you come to the United States on a visa/border card, or has anyone applied for a family based visa for you, your husband, wife or parent before April 30, 2001? (Whether the petition was granted may not be important since the old petition itself may permit you to pay a fine and adjust your status in the United States, if you have another petitioner available now.)
- Do you have a United States Citizen wife or husband, parent, or child or a permanent resident husband or wife, or a parent or child over 21 and want a visa to come to America through U. S. consular processing?
- Is there political or religious upheaval or war in your country, or do you fear persecution in your country by the government or an entity the government cannot control? Have you been subjected to torture in your country, or do you fear torture if you are forced to return there?
- Have you resided in the United States since 1979?
- Have you obtained other legal residence, Temporary Protected Status (TPS), asylum or other immigration status the past?
- Have you won a removal/deportation case in Immigration Court?
- Do you have an employment visa now that might allow you to change your status to that of a permanent resident?
- Do you have a prospective United States based employer who is willing to file a petition for you, or sponsor you for a non-immigrant work visa?
- Did you win the Immigration Diversity Lottery?
- Were either of your parents, or grandparents, United States Citizens?
AND The “DREAM ACT” (sort of…) or “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
What Is Deferred Action?
Deferred Action is a new policy developed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) designed to allow certain people who did not intentionally violate immigration law to continue to live and work in the United States.
What this means is that children who were brought into the United States illegally and who have grown up in America are not responsible for what their parents did when they were young. The DHS has decided that it is unnecessary to deport eligible immigrants if they meet certain guidelines.
In order to receive this benefit you must file an application for Deferred Action along with an application for employment authorization. If approved, you will be able to work in the United States legally, for so long as this policy remains in effect.
What Deferred Action is NOT!
Deferred Action is NOT a right; it is a discretionary privilege, based on the action of one person, President Barack Obama. There are NO guarantees of continued deferred action, and it is being challenged in Federal Court by several border patrol agents. A new president may do away with the program entirely. If it is rescinded, then all the applicants have put themselves on the government radar as being in the country illegally. The Republican House has indicated NO immigration bill may be brought to a vote this term. These are issues you must take seriously in deciding whether to apply, and there are other significant considerations as well, as described below. Since our initial consultation is free, it is advisable to seek expert advice in finding out whether you are eligible, and if so, whether you should apply.
Who Is Eligible?
In order to be eligible for Deferred Action you must:
- Have entered the United States when you were younger than 16 years of age;
- Have been in the United States for five years prior to June 15, 2012 (short trips outside of the United States for humanitarian reasons won’t affect this requirement);
- Be older than 15, and were not older than 30 as of June 15th, 2012.;
- Have either graduated from a high school or equivalent, be currently enrolled in school or be a member or veteran of the United States military;
- Submit to a background check and have a clean record without felonies, serious misdemeanors or any evidence of your being a threat to the U.S. Government.
What Are The Required Documents For Filing Deferred Action?
When you file for Deferred Action you will need to provide documentation that proves that you qualify.
- To demonstrate that you came to the United States before you were 16, that you have lived in the United States for five years and that you were in the United States as of June 15th, 2012 you will need records, such as the following:
- Financial records,
- Medical records,
- School records,
- Employment records or
- Military records.
- Any other document with your name and a date appearing on it.
- Affidavits may also be considered, or other reliable forms of proof of residence in the U.S.
- To show that you are in school, a graduate, you are in the military or were honorably discharged you will need one or more of the following:
- GED certificate,
- Report card,
- High school transcript,
- Report of separation form,
- Military personnel record or
- Military health record.
What Are Some of The Pitfalls And Hazards In Filing For Deferred Action?
When you file for Deferred Action you will need to provide documentation that proves that you qualify. We find that most people who qualify have employment, school or other records that contain what appears to be a social security number (or a partial number) that does not belong to them. Depending on the circumstances, this can be a serious problem, sometimes with possible criminal implications, and there is absolutely no guidance about how to address this, what to submit or how to submit it, neither from the U. S. Government nor from attorney organizations. You MUST confer with an attorney if you want to make an informed decision on how to proceed if this situation applies to you. Even if you do not submit documents with the number appearing, there is a possibility that the DHS may send an RFE (Request for Evidence) requiring you to submit them, and if you do not do so, the application will probably be denied. There are other potential problems regarding possible inadmissibility issues, as to what constitutes a serious misdemeanor, which offenses must be disclosed, and others too numerous to mention.
If you entrust your case to a non-attorney, such as a “Notario,” be aware that they are not attorneys and they know little or nothing about immigration law, and less about how what you file might end with you being deported or even jailed, or both! Our firm has repeatedly seen people who were victimized by these Notarios and their illegal attempts to practice law in a complex field, and were left with their life in shambles, often permanently barred from relief. The Notarios have nothing at risk, and only your hard earned money to gain. Remember the “dicho”, “Lo que entra barrato, sale caro.” To translate and paraphrase, “What starts cheap, ends up expensive” or, “You get what you pay for.” This filing is NOT just “paperwork”, it is your life, and you have one chance to get it right. Again, since our initial consultation is free, it is advisable to seek expert advice in finding out whether you are eligible, and if so, whether you should apply.
If you make an appointment to see us regarding a DACA application, please print and complete the following form and bring it with you when you come for your initial consultation.
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